In Macelj, the place where many victims of death marches were martyred in 1945, traditional holy mass was celebrated in memory of all the victims of the post-war communist terror. Every first Sunday in June, this mass has been celebrated since 1991, when it was led by the Zagreb Archbishop at the time, Cardinal Franjo Kuharić.
After mass, candles were lit at the tomb next to the church where the remains of 1,247 victims found so far in the forests of Macelj and at the pit in Lepa Bukva, one of the execution sites, were buried.
“Every year in that month, I get sad because my dad told me how they were shooting all night, and he had to hide in the barns because they were still looking for them afterwards, and he separated himself from that column before Krapina and that's how he survived,” Stjepan Galinec from Bednja.
“A nation that forgets the past certainly has no future. Preserving that past, no matter how unpleasant it may be, does not generate any hatred in itself, but we simply do not allow oblivion to cover up something terrible that happened to our people,” said Ivan Jaklin, the spokesperson of the Macelj 1945 Association.